30 January 2014

Challenge Day 47 - The best laid schemes and all that !!!

I had a plan for the week, all carefully worked out in order to maximise the painting potential. As with all plans there is potential for them to go fully tits up from outside sources and that's exactly what happened.

Now don't get me wrong sometimes plans go that way and at least these plans had good reason to go wrong. Above I had carefully organised the days work before the end of the day last night. I made my plan for today without any regard to outside influences, then wallop 11 o'clock last night the daughter went into labour. The wife naturally went to the hospital to assist as they do in such matters.

I was left to look after the boys while they slept. Fine I thought, but I cant go to sleep as I would not even hear a bomb go off once I hit the pillow. So awake all night I stayed not making any noise to disturb them watching drivel on the idiots lantern. I say drivel I really mean the dregs of society in reality why repeat crap like Jeremy Kyle show, its bad enough that these people get air time in the first place.

Dawn broke and no sign of the wife so at this point I knew my plans were going belly up, a phone call from her also said nothing yet, so I remained on duty. The boys both off school with Norovirus (thankfully I have stayed safe) then decide to spend the entire day fighting so I knew I was not getting to work anytime soon as I played referee.

Happily the wife rang around noon to let me know I had just become a Grandad. Yes the Great Hall has a shiny new addition as I now have a Grand daughter  weighing in at a hefty 9lb 2.5 oz.
So I am at this moment rather chuffed and really could not care about plans as some things are just far more important in life. Both mother and baby are fine, me and the wife are exhausted, so I am not playing my usual weekly game tonight instead I am going to have a well earned kip!!

Have a good one people

29 January 2014

Challenge Day 46 - Army Painter Anti Shine Varnish Review

I have been plugging away in the challenge, having had a bit of a slump recently in output. This was bound to happen at some point as you can crank figures out at a heck of a rate only for so long, the stumbling block for me was a unit of French in white coats rather than the grey white, however they are now done and just need basing.

Anyway I digress the main point of this review comes from the fact that before the challenge started I had been completely unable to obtain my favoured varnish in the UK. I have used Testors Dullcote for a good few years as I liked the finish it gave all the figures and it completely killed the shine on figures.
This left me with a few options and I almost went back to my old faithful Humbrol Matt brush on varnish, but this has to be very well mixed before use and constantly stirred whilst in use and is very time consuming to use on lots of figures.
So I was rather left with no alternative than to give the Army Painter Anti Shine Matt Varnish a try.

Now I do have to adjust how I am going to score this product as it is not a lead purchase, but I will stick to the system as much as possible.

Firstly price, Well I shall compare this to Dullcote which averages £4.60 for a 3oz can, Army Painter anti shine averages £8.50 for 400ml. Well to work out the cost basis a quick conversion, reveals that the 3oz can is approx 88ml so that means I get 4.5 times as much varnish for just under double the cost. That is a big saving by any standards

Cost score 10 out of 10 Ravens.

The real test for any varnish is does it do the job you need. This is where I was dubious and so it needed a good lengthy trial hence I have used it for every submission I have made to the challenge thus far. There are a lot of reports on the internet of misting etc etc for this product. However one thing I am aware of is how silly people can be when it comes to varnishing figures myself included. So I have followed the instructions given to the letter for the trial.
Finished with Antishine
So does it really give a dead flat finish - Yes it does, providing you give the can a damn good shake and apply several light coats as instructed.
The metal work still has a shine
Will it kill my metallic paint like Dullcote - Partly but not to the extent of Dullcote. Dullcote kills metallic paint and those areas need to be repainted to make them shine, The Army painter merely reduces the shine but it still retains a bit of metallic sparkle, so I am actually happier as I dont have to repaint.

Product Comparison Score 10 out of 10 Ravens.
I was more than Happy to use it on this piece of work.
I can recommend this product without any qualms but do recommend you follow the instructions properly to get the best results. I was actually very impressed with the way colours kept alive as well, some thing you do have to be careful about with Dullcote as it can often flatten vivid colours too much.

My overall rating for this product is 10 out of 10 Ravens.

26 January 2014

Weekly round up 26/1/14 - 1st Giveaway and weekly summary

Welcome to the Great Hall once again it is Sunday and its time for my quick weekly recap.

Lets start with all the negatives :-

The paint table has been moderately productive this week, although not as productive as usual, but then I did not paint for 3 days so can not expect much more from myself.

Unfortunately the planned game of Trafalgar this week did not happen due to me not being able to keep awake on Thursday as the road trip had exhausted me.

Now the good news :-

I have managed to reclaim the top spot in the Analogue Hobbies Winter Challenge with my latest submission and have broken through the 2000 point barrier. I am just managing to keep ahead of Kev but there is a long way to go and I would never underestimate his ability to pile up the points in short order. Not only that Kent seems to be able to conjure massive points from thin air keeping the race to the top wide open.

Midweek saw me make a road trip to Warbases HQ in Scotland, lots of things came from the day and in all it was very positive. Next weekend sees me make the first show of the year is I venture up to Vapnartak in York.

This brings me onto the 1st give away in celebration of achieving 100,000 hits at the beginning of the year.

As always we need a pretty face to start thing off with:

Oh and the we need some rules:

I have enabled comment moderation for the entries to this one, no captcha though to ensure I get all the entries.

1. You must be a public member (follower) of the longship crew, either a new or existing follower to be able to enter.

2. You need to comment stating which prize or prizes you would like.

3. If you promote this give away on your own blog you will gain an additional entry, you must provide a link for me to check.

4. To win the miniature you must use the contact form on the left side of the blog to send your answer to the question.

5. This draw closes at 0900 hours GMT on 1-2-2014. the winners will be announced in the next weekly round up.

So onto the prizes.

To win this one answer the following question - Name the horse given to Napoleon by Prince Eugene de Beauharnais?

 This is my spare copy and is a good basic reference for painting guides

 complete and still attached to the frames and in need of a new home

A good read, and in good nick

And just to wish you all the Breast of luck for this one.

Well good people that concludes the post for today, have a good week ahead.


25 January 2014

Paint table Saturday #12 - Prepping, pinning, priming Parthians and painting FIW

The week is almost at an end and The Great Hall is blissfully quiet, due to all other occupants on a camping trip, so what is Loki up to in their absence.

Well he is up to his eyeballs in reality and the Paint Table is rather crowded and likely to be even more full by the days end.

It is paint table Saturday time a great idea started by Sofie over on her blog and something I have participated in for a few weeks now.

So what is on the agenda, well as the title suggests I have many items on the go at once.
Yes I am busy prepping and pinning Parthian Horse archers to their mounts.
After drilling a suitable hole I insert a dress makers pin, snip with metal cutters add a nice dollop of glue and attach the riders.

Of course one has too rinse and repeat this action some 100+ times, so I am doing it batches to avoid the issues of boredom and repetitive brain malfunction.

As you can see the table is filling up rather nicely with plenty of French Indian wars in the foreground and a pile of sprues, bases and assorted tools for further preparations during the course of the day. I intend getting a good batch of the FIW figures completed this weekend.

Finally for today just a small reminder that my first competition of the year will be launched in the weekly round up tomorrow.


24 January 2014

Challenge Day 41 - Ancient Briton Cavalry

Today has been a relaxed day, much of it spent organising the things the wife and boys will need for their cub scout camping weekend. Of course this has meant that I have not spent much time on the brushes today, but I get a whole weekend to do that in perfect peace so its a small price to pay.

This also gives me the opportunity to play catch up, as I have been running behind a little due to the busy week so far. Today I caught up with some of the submissions to Curt and the next two bonus rounds are taken care of I hope to complete the last two this weekend. I have also submitted some of the finished work I had.

This post will bring me up to date with figures submitted and points awarded. My last submission was for the two units of cavalry for Hail Caesar.
 Group shot of the Medium cavalry in the front rank with the light cavalry rear rank
 These are a mix of newline metals and Hat plastic cavalry from the Gallic Command set 8138
 They mix well but the Hat figures do not fit the horses terribly well and pinning was required
 The hat horses are also a touch longer but do have some nice added details such as the war trophy heads
 As with the rest of the army plenty of colour and patterning used.
 This is the light cavalry, again a mix of both previously mentioned figures

This nearly completes the intended Ancient Briton figures for this years challenge with just the infantry to submit.

Well folks thank you for popping over to visit.


23 January 2014

Challenge Day 40 - New beginnings - a day at Warbases

I am totally exhausted after yesterday, I left the Great hall at 2.40 am and after a 300 mile drive arrived at my good friend and occasional boss Martins abode in Dunfermline around 8.30 am. Having made a couple of stops on the way for breakfasts.

After a nice cup of tea, we headed off to his workshop. This was a real eye opening day for me in many ways. The process of laser cutting bases is not as simple as I had imagined and Martin took the time to explain how the computer programs work to ensure that they cut correctly. I had just assumed that it was a straight forward procedure, but the reality is very different and even a relatively simple program, such as one required for cutting square bases needs very careful planning or bits wont get cut as they would fall away from the main sheet before the laser got to them.

I was allowed to operate one of the lasers, and cut several batches of zombies trays, I stood completely fascinated as the complex cutting guide was loaded and the lasers cut the bases out of solid sheets, the whole program took 6 minutes to run and produced two full trays with each run, so a quick bit of maths in my head worked out that you could cut twenty bases an hour and 140 a day going flat out. It does not take a genius to work out that even with three cutters running all day there is a lot of hours required to maintain the stock levels and that's without all the special orders thrown in as well.

Of course being a family run business, Martin is assisted by his father Donald and son Glenn, in the workshop and the whole operation runs like a well oiled machine. I have maintained a working relationship with Martin since the inception of my own business and he was the sole supplier of all the bases for my own products and as some of you know I occasionally help him out at shows.

So new beginnings, well over the years, Myself and Martin have built a good working relationship. I have designed several products that I have retained the copyright too, and although Martin has produced them for me I retained the sole rights to sale of them. With the change in my life style it was time for me to make some changes, and we made suitable negotiations that worked for us both, I wont say too much here and now but there will be several new products available in the coming months for both 15mm and 28mm scale. All of which will be available in make it yourself form.

Further to this Martin has good plans for Warbases and is planning on expanding not only his ranges, but also adding products to his inventory and expanding in other directions, one of the products that I used to make a lot of was flexible roads, these have always been a very good seller and are one of the few products that with my health I am still able to make as no fumes or dust are created in the making of these.
Martin will be stocking the full range of these in the very near future, initially the 15mm range will be put into production again. I will also be supplying him with other products as the year ahead unfolds.

So whilst I am no longer trading directly, and am unable to produce everything that I used too, I now have plans in place for the year ahead. These should help me and my family through the coming months. I am also going to be helping out at a few more shows this year, as this is the easiest way for us too regularly meet up and discuss things.

So whilst things may have looked very bleak at the end of last year, when I had to close the business as it was running I have been able to effectively retain some of it and breathe new life into it.  Now as you can appreciate this will have an impact on my family life and the time I generally will have available, as it will mean more weekends away from home.

However this is something that has the full backing of my wife. I have to put the hours into making products for Martin to earn the wages to support my family, who's needs must be placed first. So in order to make a fresh start I have severed all ties and ended all other commitments, in order to focus solely on this and not have any further impact on my health or family life. Something I am sure you can agree is the only option in the circumstances.

Today has not been spent on the brushes at all, as I am shattered from the extremely long day yesterday. I have spent it trying to catch up on all the blog posts and challenge entries I have missed. I may not have commented on them all but will have read them by the end of the day.


21 January 2014

Challenge Day 38 - A short day today

Today has been a very short day at the paint table, as family duties have overtaken, with both the boys and the wife away for the weekend, (serious painting time ahead). I am also away for a bit from tomorrow as I will be travelling North of the border and going to visit Martin and Diane at Warbases HQ to plan the year ahead and discuss other matters.

Today has been spent working on more figures for the French Indian war commission, as well as some display figures for Andrew at AW Miniatures.
 Whilst I was waiting for base layers to dry I also started hand painting the Bearn Infantry standard.

I wont be at the workbench till possibly Friday now, and there will be a break in the regular posting as I have not scheduled anything for while I am away. My submissions to Curt are up to date, and except for the actual score for my bonus round entry, which has not been posted I am happy to have amassed 1682 point to date, keeping me in with a decent chance of my top ten spot.

Well folks that's all from me for the next couple of days so please have a good one yourselves and I will post upon my return.

20 January 2014

Challenge Day 37 - Bonus Round Spider Controversy

First things first, once again the bonus round in the 4th analogue hobbies continued to produce some great work. So please pay a visit and cast your votes HERE.

I should explain how and why my particular entry came about.

Initially I had thought, well I have a few tanks scattered around here just paint one of them up and it will do. Some of you will remember that last year during the challenge I knocked out two complete tank forces for Flames of War. But that was just too damned easy and not very challenging for me personally.

Then I remembered about the Arachnarok kit I had, unloved for a couple of years it was tucked away in the shed with the rest of a much neglected Orc and Goblin force. Now this kit would definitely work for the round in the same way as an elephant with a howdah full of crew would, as in its original form the kit contains a howdah full of goblins.

I started work on the spider a few weeks ago, and whilst working on it I began to think about the task ahead, the howdah is a complicated build as it has no less than three build options, and as nice as the original kit is I wanted to do something different with it, possibly in the back of my mind was the fact I would not be able to complete it fully in time. Then I had one of those moments where something triggered in my mind, a long time ago I had heard an author describe their work as a vehicle for their own creativity. Hmmmm, I wondered is this right, so a quick search of a dictionary and yes the definition was there . I then thought well that's good as paint and miniatures work as a vehicle for my own work.

That is how I arrived at the spider, I also thought it prudent to check with Curt and it was given the all clear so I then proceeded to create something a bit different.

Now those on the Facebook group will know this did not go smoothly as after completion it had a rather unfortunate incident with the wife and a jumper, the less said about that the better, but I then spent a whole night slaving away to effect repairs and get it back to what you see below.

"Fortune Favours The Brave"

Now just to give you an idea of the size of the spider, it all sits on a base that is 6 inches long and 4 inches wide. The spider has a length and width of 7 inches or (18 cm) it stands 3 inches or (75 mm) tall. Each of the 6 rear legs is 6 inches long and the front legs are 9 inches long. The total time taken to complete this diorama is in excess of 30 hours.

I have attempted to replicate some Jewels within the treasure pile, and although I think they are passable I need to practise in this area a bit more.

The 28mm figure on the base is part of the Salute 2006 “Arthur and Mordred” something resurrected from deep within the lead mountain, I had not painted it till now as although I loved the sculpt of Mordred the depiction of Arthur was not how my eye sees him, Mordred however sprang to mind instantly when I started this as being suitably posed as well as suitable prey for the spider. The boss on the shield was large enough for me to free hand a spiders image from. 

The base itself is also part of the games workshop kit for the spider, but needed a little bit added too it, again I plucked a pile of treasure from the bits boxes and added this at the bottom of the trees to give the spider something to be protecting. the trees contain two hapless goblins, who make a lovely breakfast and are obviously far to dumb to actually steal the treasure and therefore are entangled in webs. the trees are festooned with spiders, webs, skulls and mushrooms all of which allowed me to go wild with the paint colours.

If nothing else this was a good fun piece to create, and really allowed me the freedom to get creative, not bound by any historical colour schemes that would tie me down. I hope you enjoyed viewing it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

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